Journalist ends hunger strike

New York, June 25, 2003—Jailed Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet has ended the hunger strike he began on May 6 to protest his harassment and subsequent imprisonment by Moroccan authorities.

According to press reports, Lmrabet ended the hunger strike after a visit by Moulay Hichem al-Aloui, a cousin of King Muhammad VI, who convinced him to end the strike. Lmrabet’s lawyer told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he and family members had been trying for some time to convince Lmrabet—who was rushed to the hospital from his prison cell at the end of May—to end the strike out of concern for his health.

CPJ was able to reach Lmrabet briefly by telephone today at his hospital bed in the capital, Rabat, and he confirmed that he had indeed ended his strike.

Lmrabet, editor of the two satirical weeklies, the French language Demain and its Arabic sister weekly Douman, was sentenced to four years in jail on May 21 for “insulting the king” and “challenging the territorial integrity of the state.” An appeals court later reduced the prison sentence to three years. [For more information, see CPJ’s June 17 news alert]